This week I got reacquainted with an old friend. It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten together, and frankly I never look forward to our reunions, but sometimes they are necessary. After this week though, our bond is tight. A friend in need is a friend indeed and all that. My reunion was with the “sniffling, sneezing, coughing, achy, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine.”
I woke up Monday morning with a slightly scratchy throat. I did that immediate panicky thing: take extra vitamins, elderberry syrup, gargle with salt water, but a cold was not to be avoided.
Pre-covid, I would have done what needed to be done and pushed through. But now, a sneeze or a cough in public could result in being chased out of town with torches raised by an angry mob. In light of this, I cancelled everything on my calendar except for work, which is over zoom, so I felt fairly safe.
I had a couple of people I was meeting for coffee that I hated to miss, but I didn’t want to risk exposing them. Other than that I was actually thrilled to clear my calendar.
Life came to a grinding halt when covid hit. For the most part we stopped going into work or school. Church stopped meeting in person; all “non-essential” activities ceased. It was a little bit like a snow day, an enforced rest, and I think a lot of us made the most of it.
With vaccines arriving and treatments in the wings, we are getting a little closer to a normal resuming of everyday routines. We seem to be rushing headfirst back into our super-stimulated and overscheduled lives, maybe forgetting some of the lessons we learned during our “break”.
Being busy is a badge of honor in our world. It makes us feel important. We point to our overscheduled calendars as proof that we are needed and valuable. I grew up hearing the Biblical admonition, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” meaning if you’re not busy you’re going to get in trouble. But what about the verse, “Be still and know that I am God”?
So which is it? Stay busy or be still? As it is with most things, I believe it’s a balance between the two, or as my mom always said, “Moderation in all things”.
For example, exercise is one of the best things you can do for every aspect of your life - physically, mentally, and emotionally, but too much and you’re looking at being sidelined with an injury or burnout. On the other end of the spectrum, chocolate is one of the best things in the world for your spirits, but too much, and it will make you sick.
Even as the pendulum swings through the different generations we tend to move in extremes. We’ve covered the gamut between Free Love and Greed is Good. Maybe the young adults today have it right as they search for life balance. They want to land somewhere between “Keep your nose to the grindstone” and “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Balance in all areas of life is a worthy goal.
Since I’m feeling better and starting to look at my calendar for the upcoming week and even the whole holiday season, I might need to do some rearranging, work on a little more balance. And though it’s not beautiful and eloquent, this advice from author Robert Fulghum is spot on. “Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”